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West Brom V Newcastle at The Hawthorns : Match Preview
Published : 25 Mar 2012 16:51:48
Hodgson looks at West Brom potential
Roy Hodgson believes West Brom have the potential to become an established Premier League force on a similar level to the likes of Everton and Aston Villa. Head coach Hodgson has steered Albion to the verge of guaranteeing top-flight football for a third successive season ahead of Sunday's home clash with Newcastle. But the former Fulham boss has already looked into the future and what position the Baggies could be occupying in five years time.
Hodgson said: "There are parallels here with Fulham, the way I feel here, the way people people treat me here, the support I get from players and staff even in terms of the way both clubs are run. "Both clubs are very well run and work to a budget and do try to cut their cloth according to their size or means. It is a very comfortable environment in that respect. "I would like to think that we aren't finished yet, that there is more that this team and club has to offer, but to do that you've got to look further into the future than even next season. "You probably have got to look four or five years down the line. "Then it would be nice to think West Brom are being mentioned in the same breath as Everton or Aston Villa with people not contemplating relegation and thinking instead 'can it be a European year'." Hodgson's own experiences at Fulham in masterminding an escape from relegation against the odds means he will not celebrate survival until it is mathematically guaranteed. He said: "I don't consider ourselves safe because I know so many things can happen in football. "It's a very foolish person, when there is a mathematical chance of it happening, who says 'this will not happen to us'.
"I remember at Fulham with three or four games to go, we were mathematically relegated at half-time in one game before turning it around and going on to survive. "But I am quite confident and relaxed that we won't have any difficulties. I don't see us playing nine games and not taking any more points. "I do think we will get over the 40-point mark at some stage and when we do that, then I will be very surprised if we are not safe. "I am not fearful, I'm looking upwards rather than backwards, but I'm not bold enough to say there is no danger because stranger things have happened." Baggies centre-back Jonas Olsson will return after a one-match suspension against the Magpies. Olsson's probable recall alongside Gareth McAuley means Liam Ridgewell is likely to revert from central defence to left-back in place of Nicky Shorey. Albion are hopeful striker Peter Odemwingie will be fit after missing the 1-1 draw at Wigan last weekend with a hamstring injury. Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote is rated at 50/50 to return from a hamstring injury which ruled him out of last weekend's 1-0 win over Norwich, while full-back Danny Simpson has a chance of returning from his adductor strain.
Magpies midfielder Danny Guthrie admits he would be disappointed to miss out on a European place come May despite starting the season with no thoughts of qualification. The Magpies set off in August looking to make progress after finishing 12th in their first season back in the Premier League, but never dreaming of a top-six berth and the rewards that could bring. But they head to West Brom sitting in sixth place in the table with just nine games left to play, and knowing if they remain there that could be enough to book them a return to the European stage. Asked if he could have dreamt of such a scenario back in August, Guthrie said: "No. The top 10 was our aim, but obviously, we have done a lot better than expected and we find ourselves in a position where we can get into Europe with nine games to go. "It would have been a big bonus at the start, but we are there now, so it would be disappointing if we didn't. "The top 10 was our aim at the start of the season, but because of the start we had and we have come through a difficult patch and managed to get a good win at home at the weekend, it would be disappointing now if we couldn't finish the job off."
West Brom V Newcastle - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game live.